They say that one tiny pebble can start a ripple effect that can reach towards the farthest ends of the waters. Then that one tiny pebble can be reincarnated as artist and satirist Song Byeok who, with his message-loaded agit-pop art, is spreading awareness of the oblivious Truman Show mentality of those living under the oppressive dictatorship in North Korea.
Song Byeok grew up in North Korea believing Kim Jong Il’s brainwashing ideas were the truth. When he was sponsored by the North Korean government to create propaganda posters supporting the regime, he was unfazed by the lies they wanted him to depict in his art. However, after witnessing his father’s death and the indifference the soldiers exhibited when he asked for help, Song Byeok’s paradigm of life shattered and the bitter reality took over. After being brutally beaten and forced to work in a labor camp, Song Byeok successfully defected from North Korea and settled in South Korea in 2002.
Since then, Song Byeok has been taking advantage of his freedom of expression by creating satirical paintings that raise awareness about the twisted-ness of the North Korean government. “I want to tell the world the secrets being kept by North Korea,” he says.
Song Byeok with one of his paintings
After a successful showing in Seoul, Song Byeok is bringing his talent to the US for the first time. Hosted by The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, GA, his first international exhibition, “Song Byeok: Departure,” will showcase twenty of the artist’s acrylic pieces, including six pieces that have never before been seen by the public.
“Song Byeok: Departure” will be on display starting February 17 through the 26th. Admission is FREE and funding is gladly accepted through the Kickstarter Project devoted to funding Song Byeok’s upcoming and future exhibitions. By helping through tax-deductible funds, Song Byeok can continue to share his beautiful and thought-provoking art to spread the fire of the national crisis taking place in North Korea.
Check out the “Song Byeok: Departure” promo video below. To learn more about Song Byeok’s art, click here.
“Song Byeok: Departure” @ The Goat Farm Arts Center (Feb. 17 – 26, 2012)
1200 Foster St.,
Atlanta, GA 30318
Hours: Click here
Opening reception is on Friday, February 17th from 7pm-10:30pm (Auction at 10:00pm. All proceeds will go towards Dari Community (우리집), a North Korean refugee center in Ansan, ROK.
[Photos: top-Bang! Arts Management and Promotions, middle: Sebastian Strangio]